|Weldon's, 1936, Millersport, Ohio|
|Weldon's Ice Cream Factory, 2010|
For as long as I can remember, summertime at Buckeye Lake has meant trips to Weldon’s Ice Cream Factory in Millersport. I guess I was a toddler when I first went there, because my mom and dad both grew up going to Weldon’s themselves. It still looks much the same as it must have in the 1950’s, with painted wooden booths and an old-time jukebox, white metal counter stools and a rainbow of handwritten signs behind the counter. Walking in the screened door from the wide front porch is like taking a step back in time. And a yummy one, at that.
When I was little, it seemed like a long ride in my Grandpa Ballenger’s Chris-Craft from the cottage in Maple Bay all the way to Millersport. I wasn’t too crazy about the speed and the waves, so Grandpa would let me hold onto the bow lines draped over the windshield, like the reins of a horse. Weekend after weekend, year after year, we’d make the trip for gas at the marina and a treat at the ice cream factory (since Weldon’s has no docks of its own, buying gas at the same time is part of the deal if you go by water). Over the years the boat and its passengers have changed, but Weldon’s remains constant. Sometimes we sit on the chairs out on the porch and take our time, sipping sodas and milkshakes or trying to finish cones before they melt in the summer heat. Other times we hop back on the boat with our selections in hand—and woe to the cone eaters then!
Weldon’s celebrated its 80th anniversary last summer, and this year they’re going as strong as ever. They still make all their own ice cream right there in the factory in the back part of the old white clapboard building (I’m hard pressed to say which is my favorite, but I definitely have a soft spot for mint chocolate chip.) My kids are the fourth generation of my family to stand in front of that counter, asking for samples and placing their orders. Thanks, Weldon’s, for all the years of sweet summertime memories.